All month long, organizations have been celebrating ADHD Awareness Month.
Most organizations supporting ADHD look to spend this time getting information out to the public to help spread awareness of the disorder and to curb myths and replace them with truths.
However, I would like to take this opportunity to focus on ADHD Self-Awareness.
First, Let’s Define “Aware”
1. archaic: watchful (1), wary (2);
2. having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge
Awareness – noun
Synonyms: cognizant, conscious, sensible, awake, alert, watchful, vigilant
Awareness or self-awareness is a big challenge for someone with ADHD. The earlier in life the practice of self-awareness can be learned, the fewer ramifications that have to be dealt with later. As you read through some of the synonyms of awareness, I’m sure you can see how many of these are often missing from a description of someone with ADHD. One of the biggest challenges for those of us with ADHD, besides inattention, is our self-perception. This becomes the relationship and social challenge faced by those of us not so vigilant.
Some things to think about when working on self-awareness may be that the parents first increase their knowledge of their child’s particular isms as they relate to ADHD and then teach that awareness to the child translating to self-awareness.
This may seem over-obvious, however, in my experience, I am often amazed at how many parents are left without proper knowledge of all that encompasses ADHD. Too often, children or adults are diagnosed, given a prescription for medication, and then left with the little information they have. This, in my opinion, is a huge gap in care within the mental health profession. I am thankful for the professionals out there that do their part to fill it.
So, it becomes your responsibility as the parent or the individual with ADHD to find available resources for information and management.
Self-Aware of How ADHD Manifests
ADHD is a disability of paradox. While there are similarities among everyone who has ADHD, one of the reasons ADHD can be hard to diagnose and to manage is the fact that it can show itself in so many ways.
It often appears to those who don’t understand the disorder that ADDrs just choose what to pay attention to, or just want to be the center of attention, in some cases. The truth is, each individual brain has a mind of its own.
To determine how ADHD manifests for your child, take note of the situations that seem to create the most difficulty. Then use each and every situation as a chance to learn.
Self-Aware of How ADHD Impacts Others
This is important to ensure a a future that includes relationships and friendships. We would all love it if the world would just accept us for who we are, and be OK with it. However, ADHD or not, everything we do has ripple effects that go beyond us.
Simple things like understanding how we can present ourselves with a flat affect, how impulsive reactions can offend and hurt feelings, and procrastination can lead people to think we don’t care. Relationships will be a constant struggle for an ADHDr.
Become aware of what your child’s specific challenges are. Once aware, your child can become mindful of how to manage it.
Self-Aware of Good Management
There is no cure for ADHD. However, there is good treatment and management. What works for one may not work for another.
ADHD management may include:
- learning style supports
- environmental adjustments
- ADHD Coaches
- social skill training
Bottom line – there is no one single solution in ADHD management. It is a supportive structure we have to build for our children and ourselves. Part of self-awareness includes teaching children how to continue molding the management to fit as life changes.
Awareness requires an open mind. It is being vigilant and conscious of life as it happens, as it has happened, and as it will happen. Awareness will be your child’s greatest tool as they grow into teenagers, and adults. Practicing awareness ourselves will give us, as care givers, the tools to teach our children.
Living with awareness gives us the ability to see who we are and who we want to be. This is the path to integrity. What more could we want for our children than to have them become men and women who achieve their passions and dreams? With the ability to be self-aware, they will be able to grow into their amazingly authentic selves.
(1) “Watchful.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
(2) “Wary.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.